Voodoo dancers casting their spell over cruise line

POSTED: 02/23/15 12:40 AM

GREATBAY—St. Maarten dance group—The Voodoo dancers—are making a splash on the cruise ships and a name for themselves courtesy of an invitation to perform in port four cruise ships, which have blossomed into a deal to perform the season.

Lead by seasoned dancer Paul Daal-Dono, the dance group began performing with three dancers on the cruise line in October while in Port and after being vetted by the “higher ups” from that cruise line who watched their performance via video, the dance group is now up to five persons and is dancing their way into the lime light. Daal Dono has performed in Vegas and other entertainment establishments and she explained that she would like St. Maarten to be known as the Vegas of the Caribbean.

“I would like to see the dance group and others here become as big as possible. The important thing is to get an opportunity and to make the best of it. St. Maarten can be even better than Vegas. Vegas is a desert and St. Maarten is lush and green and beautiful. We can make it bigger and better,” she told Today yesterday.

The dream began in October of last year when representatives of a cruise line contacted Paula Daal-Dono, troupe leader of the VooDoo dancers, to create a dance show for their cruise ships. “This is a dream come true” for Daal-Dono and in the months of November and December she got hard at work designing a show as per the requests of the cruise line. This included new dance routines, music editing and costume design changes. “The cruise representatives initially weren’t sure about the amount of dancers they would be needing during the season. Finally late in December they indicated that they wanted just three dancers for the first three shows and they’ll make a decision from there. We really wanted to get the job for the season for at least five dancers, we made sure that the costumes and dancers were ready on time in case it happened,” Daal-Dono said.

She added that many dancers “rehearsed hard” for the positions.  “After the first show it was clear which parts of the show worked and which didn’t. Even though the show was made to the cruises lines specifications, I believed we could do better. I felt that proactive changes were needed if we wanted to keep the job and convince the cruise representatives that we can get the job done.” Paula Daal-Dono stated. The group worked hard to get everything perfected for the third show and received a call from the cruise line representatives the day before the third show. A request was made by the cruise line representatives to make some changes to the show. “Those changes were exactly the same changes that the group was busy implementing. On the third show everything went perfectly.” According to Paula Daal-Dono following the show she was congratulated by the cruise director who told her “This is what we wanted, thank you.”

The decision to employ the group for the entire season was made and transmitted to Daal-Dono and the group received the go-ahead to perform with five dancers instead of the original three. “This is truly a dream come true. The whole group worked hard to achieve this by sacrificing their holidays to rehearse. I really hope this opens the doors for other performers on the island. It’s important that the cruise ships realize that St. Maarten has entertainers that have the level they require. I must add that none of this would have been possible without NIA (National Institute of the Arts); Clara and Arlene are great motivators.” Daal-Dono concluded.

Paula Daal-Dono has been performing locally since 2004 and is a ballet teacher. Anyone is interested in performing with Daal-Dono or who is need of a dance show, may contact Paula Daal-Dono at e-mail voodoosxm@gmail.com or call 5877319.

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